NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH)– During the season, the Norwich Sea Unicorns and the Lowell Spinners are rivals. But now their host cities are teaming up to try to save minor league ball.
“It’s just a natural fit for us to try to gain greater support and even compare strategies of what we’ve been trying to do,” said Mayor Peter Nystrom, (R) Norwich.
He and Norwich’s City Manager recently got a phone call from the Chief Financial Officer in Lowell, Massachusetts which is also in the Single-A New York Penn League and recently held a rally to save their team.
“We both see benefit to them being part of our community,” said Mayor Nystrom.
And that’s a year-round benefit with the team allowing other groups to use the stadium and donating more than a million dollars to local charities.
Both teams also play in city-owned stadiums which have had major improvements. Norwich recently set aside $800,000 for upgrades like all new LED lighting.
Both cities also have long term leases with their teams to rent the stadiums. Lowell has five years left on an eighter-year lease and Norwich just signed a ten-year lease which the mayor believes provides legal standing to make sure those agreements are honored.
Agreements signed by the commissioners of both Major League and Minor League Baseball.
“They approved our new lease for ten years,” said Mayor Nystrom. “They had to sign on it first.”
Mayor Nystrom already wrote to leaders in all 41 other communities which could lose their minor league teams and plans to write them again as well as meet up with his Lowell counterparts.
“We’re gonna go up there catch a game and meet face to face,” said the mayor.
He’s also hoping other teams in Vermont and upstate New York will join them.